As if networking wasn’t tough enough, how in the world can you network when we have a stay-at-home order in effect and when we do go out for essentials, we must be 6 feet apart?
The saying “necessity is the mother of invention” seems truer today than ever. I’ve seen neighbors who walk together every day, continue to walk, but one is on the sidewalk and the other in the street. I’ve met friends for a “virtual cocktail party”. Now is the perfect time to STOP thinking about what you can’t do (go to a coffee shop, meet for lunch) and START thinking creatively.
Start by setting weekly networking goals. But, make them realistic.
- Text, email or call that friend or former colleague to see how they are doing. I saw this referred to as a “goodwill” call. We will all remember the people that checked in on us during this time.
- Replace in-person activities like meeting for coffee or having an in-person informational interview by using technology like FaceTime, Zoom or Google Hangouts to make them happen. Until recently, many of us haven’t been frequent users of these technologies. So, we are all learning together. Becoming more knowledgeable about these tools will come in handy during job interviews as the number of employers using them during the interview process is likely to increase.
- Instead of cleaning out a closet, how about using this time to clean up your LinkedIn profile and add to your LinkedIn contacts. Send personal messages when asking someone to connect helps to ensure that person will accept your invitation.
- Start using LinkedIn…I mean really using it. Join groups, share articles, follow thought leaders and comment with insights.
Be safe and healthy and continue to network and focus on your job search during this COVID-19 period of our lives.
- Mary Beth Barrett-Newman, Career Coach, CRC Board Member and Advisor